Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Facebook for Snoopers: The Government Is Waging War against Citizens with Its Data Policies, Writes Becky Hogge

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Facebook for Snoopers: The Government Is Waging War against Citizens with Its Data Policies, Writes Becky Hogge

Article excerpt

Can you "persuade others of the benefits of proposals or the value of a particular interpretation"? Then perhaps the recently advertised position of senior information officer at the Home Office's new Intercept Modernisation Programme (IMP) is for you.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

According to the description of the [pounds sterling]45,000-a-year job (removed from the Home Office website, but, at the time of going to press, still available in Google's cache), the IMP has been set up to "maintain the UK's capability to obtain and exploit Lawful Intercept (LI) product and Communications Data (CD)", using "a range of new technologies". You and I will know IMP better as the nutty plans that have been making headlines all summer, plans to log details about every web page we visit, every SMS message we text and every email we send. And not only that, but to store all this "communications traffic" information in a central database.

Can you "spot the publicity or news value of policy or operational developments"? Perhaps then, as the successful candidate for the job, you'll do the clever thing and throw a sickie the day the contents of the Communications Data Bill, said to contain full details of the IMP, are revealed during the next session of parliament. Because surely even a government this data-crazy doesn't think it can get such a scheme past the public, and least of all now? Surely we agree with the Information Commissioner that any such plans would go "a step too far for the British way of life"? …

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